Kirk Moderator Ends St Andrewstide Visit to London

The Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland has wrapped up his annual St Andrewstide visit to London with sermons at the capital's two historic Church of Scotland churches.

The Rt Rev Alan McDonald began Sunday in the West End at the Crown Court Church, which is the longest established Presbyterian church south of the border, dating back to 1711. Here the Moderator preached to the congregation of this thriving church, which for centuries has welcomed Scots in London including celebrities from nearby theatreland.

St Columba's Church Knightsbridge was originally built in 1884 but destroyed by an incendiary bomb. It was rebuilt and rededicated in 1945 and last December the church launched its 50th anniversary celebrations and fundraising appeal which concluded last night.

The church last night welcomed the Moderator to a special Choral Evensong for Advent. In his sermon, Rev McDonald challenged the church to join other Church of Scotland churches in wealthier areas to twin with churches in some of the most deprived areas of Scotland, a scheme set up by the General Assembly 18 months ago to alleviate the "grinding poverty" they found to still exist in parts of Scotland.

He also challenged St Columba's to set up a twinning partnership with a congregation in a developing world country. Numerous Church of Scotland churches have already set up such relationships where they, according to the Moderator, have reported that it was the Scottish congregation which "received more from the twinning than they ever gave".

"It could produce a harvest here and there," said the Moderator, who expressed his delight at ending his London visit at St Columba's.

His annual visit this year included meetings with the The Queen and the Archbishop of Canterbury. The Moderator also handed in an anti-Trident petition with other Scottish church leaders and representatives on Friday.

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